Summary: Lazarus was still bound by grave clothes after his resurrection. Christians who have been born again are still bound by grave clothes as well. It’s time for us to help them get unwrapped and set free by the power of God.
By Pastor Jim May
It seems that most of this week God has been bringing this message back to me over and again. I have thought about it and prayed about it and I am convinced that the Lord would have me to tell you what He has been telling me.
Let us begin by reading from the Gospel of John, Chapter 11 and verse 1.
While all of you are turning in your Bibles let me say that all through this chapter there is a richness of material from which we could preach this morning. Every Word in this Book carries such a powerful message. Every word is alive and glorious and seems to literally jump off of the printed page and go through your eyes, through your mind, right down into your very heart and soul. The more you read it, the more you want to read it. The more you read it and hear it and meditate upon it, the more it comes alive to you. This Bible is not just a book – It’s a living word. It’s not just ink on paper for there is a living power, inspired by eternal God and penned under the anointing of the Holy Ghost. I pray today that God’s Word will perform its work in your heart as we read. I’m going to take a little extra time to read a little more than usual because I love this story and I never get tired of hearing it.
There are a number of occasions in the Bible where Jesus used parables, stories and analogies to make a point while teaching His disciples. Some have said that Jesus was a good storyteller and that most of the parables were simply stories that He made up. I’m not convinced that this is true for He is eternal God and He has the entirety of human history and billions upon billions of true stories from the lives of people from which to draw his illustrations. But be that as it may, we are assured that this story of Lazarus’ resurrection is true – it actually happened just as the Word of God says, and I’m so glad it did because if Jesus resurrected Lazarus, and God is no respecter of persons, then I know that He will also resurrect you and I to eternal life.
But today I want to bring your focus down to the last verse that we read - John 11:44, “And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.”
Lazarus’ story is a true story and has been an inspiration for an innumerable amount of sermons down through the years. I know that you have heard it time and again. This man Lazarus, a personal friend of our Lord, died and was buried. This family, Lazarus, Mary and Martha had no doubt entertained, provided lodging and had extended their hospitality many times to our Lord. I believe that Jesus always made it a point to visit with them and commune with them over dinner every time he passed close to Bethany.
I know that Jesus loved them and I know that their love for Jesus was just as real.
In fact, if you read in the very next chapter of John, after the resurrection, you will see Mary anointing the feet of Jesus and wiping his feet with her hair, while Martha is busy about the house preparing the meal and making things as comfortable as possible for Jesus and his disciples.
But step back in chapter 11 and you are stricken with the fact that no matter how much Jesus loves this family, there came a time when tragedy struck and the power of death prevailed.
If there is one enemy that we cannot defeat, it’s death. The rich and the poor, Kings and Presidents, saints and sinners, young and old, weak and powerful – all of us, will eventually lose the battle with death for death reigns invincible until the day that Jesus puts an end to his power. When death stalks the land, all men tremble in fear and wonder if it is coming for them. Jesus told us that all men are appointed their destiny with death and none of us will escape. Some may only experience death in a “moment and a twinkling of eye” but nevertheless, this body of flesh must die. It must go to the grave in corruption so that we can be raised incorruptible with a new glorified body. The scripture says that the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. Thank God, in Heaven death will be no more and we shall all live eternally!